In a perfectly sane, settled world where all frontiers have been (or are being) conquered, a single outbreak of mystery, of the inexplicable, will bring chaos and bewilderment to countless onlookers. Joan Lindsay's novel calls attention to the taboos, shadows and other limites that hem in our weary daylight world of Enlightened Reason. Lives, she suggests, spent in denial of these things are sure to be crushed by bereavements occurring in a haunted landscape unmarked by human ken.
The classic novel about the disappearance of three boarding school girls that inspired the acclaimed film
It was a cloudless summer day in the year 1900. Everyone at Appleyard College for Young Ladies agreed it was just right for a picnic at Hanging Rock. After lunch, a group of three girls climbed into the blaze of the afternoon sun, pressing on through the scrub into the shadows of the secluded volcanic outcropping. Farther, higher, until at last they disappeared. They never returned. . . .
Mysterious and subtly erotic, Picnic at Hanging Rock inspired the iconic 1975 film of the same name by Peter Weir. A beguiling landmark of Australian literature, it stands with Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, and Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Virgin Suicides as a masterpiece of haunting intrigue.
About the Author
Joan Lindsay was born Joan à Beckett Weigall in Melbourne, Australia, in 1896. She attended Clyde Girls Grammar School, the model for Appleyard College in Picnic at Hanging Rock, and the National Gallery of Victoria Art School, where she studied painting. On Valentine’s Day 1922 she married Daryl Lindsay in London. She chose Valentine’s Day 1900 as the setting for Picnic at Hanging Rock, her best-known work, which was first published in 1967 and is the basis for the 1975 film of the same name by Peter Weir. She died in Melbourne in 1984.
“Pure magic. Every fashion film and NYU undergraduate thesis takes its cues from this lyrical masterpiece. In college I tried to make a satirical remake entitled Lunchtime at Dangling Boulder, but all my actors slept too late.” —Lena Dunham, on the film adaptation
“[From the] Victorian hothouse atmosphere and fetishism . . . and its focus on the burgeoning sexual curiosity of the girls (and the women) . . . to Gothic terrors, supernatural wonder, divine mysticism, or the imperialist unconscious . . . Picnic actively encourages a host of fantasies.” —Megan Abbott, author of You Will Know Me,The Fever, and Dare Me, in an essay for The Criterion Collection’s Blu-ray/DVD edition of the film
“A sinister tale . . . laced with touches of other-worldliness” —The Guardian
“Deliciously horrific.” —The Observer
“The fact that most people believed that this palpable fiction was a record of a real event is not merely a tribute to the writer . . . but a testimony to the atavistic power of its theme.” —The Spectator
“Beautifully haunting.” —The Sun Herald (Australia)